07/11 – Matt Buchman, Action-Adventure Thrillers

Monday, June 29, 2020

Frank, Mustard and Simon Calcavecchia

My name is Simon Calcavecchia and I am a children’s book author, motivational speaker and disability awareness advocate.

In 2002, I was injured in a rugby accident which left me with quadriplegia. After spending several months in rehabilitation I decided to go to college and after 4 years I emerged with a Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts from Evergreen State College. After graduating, I tried to find work with the help of the Department of Vocational Rehab but struggled to find any opportunity for employment.

I found myself floundering and depressed. I sought guidance from a counselor and it was suggested that I start volunteering in order to give me a sense of purpose and community. It worked! I began volunteering at local schools, a local theater, the co-op and finally at the children’s museum. It was there that I discovered there weren't any books which included characters with disabilities. This inspired me to create a book series and share my stories with kids about living with disabilities and using a wheelchair..

After a year of hard work, Arturo Alvarez and I created The Adventures of Frank and Mustard which is about a wiener dog named Frank who uses a wheelchair and his buddy Mustard, a little yellow bird. The themes of the books are about my own personal experiences such as when I got stuck in the mud in my wheelchair. The title of the first book I wrote called “Stuck in the mud”, related to the time when I got stuck on a trail in a botanical garden in Vancouver, BC.

Differently Awesome is a book about acceptance and inclusion based on my own experiences of being excluded and treated differently because I use a wheelchair. I wanted to share how we should not treat people unkindly or differently because they are differently abled.

Wheels and Waves is about when I went surfing at Westport, Washington with a team of friends who carried me across the sand and helped me experience riding a wave on a surfboard.

My latest book, Monster Truck’n is about when I got to drive a monster truck. I have many more stories and ideas to draw from and plan on continuing to add to the book series of the Adventures of Frank and Mustard for many years to come.

In addition to being an author, I became a motivational speaker and going to schools and sharing my story about how I became paralyzed, writing my books and how to not give up on one’s dreams. I mostly speak to elementary and middle school students but I find wherever I go my message of inclusion, acceptance, and never giving up, is warmly received.

Although my dreams for Frank and Mustard have been greatly impacted by the coronavirus, Arturo and I continue to work on creating more books that represent inclusion, kindness and acceptance.

Learn more about Frank and Mustard's creators: https://www.frankandmustard.com/about-us
Head to Youtube: The Adventures of Frank and Mustard to see Simon
Check out FrankandMustard on Facebook
To check in with Simon about doing a presentation at your school or with your organization, contact Simon directly at Frankandmustard@gmail.com


Judith Ashley said...

Simon, I can see why you and your message of inclusion, acceptance and never giving up is warmly received. I also know it is inspirational and children and adults are inspired to change. Looking forward to the next and the next and the next Adventures of Frank and Mustard. BTW: have you thought of going skiing? or maybe jet boat riding?

Peggy said...

How very inspirational, Simon. What you are doing will make and continue to make a difference in educating children for years to come. Any person, adult or child, cannot help but do their best to move forward with hope and excitement when seeing what you have done and continue to do. You bring out the best in all of us.

Deb N said...

Simon, I am so glad you found the path you are on now. Not only are you an inspiration for any of us, but to have your stories geared toward children is extra special. We need more like you who are willing to tell their story and help others by doing so. Next time I need a children's book to give away, (books being my standard gift for any child I Know,) I will be sure to look for yours.

Lynn Lovegreen said...

I love the Frank and Mustard concept! May your books help children all over the world.

Sarah Raplee said...

Thank you for Guesting with us at RTG, Simon! My granddaughter loves Stuck in the Mud. Time to buy her the next book in the series.

Maggie Lynch said...

Thank you for bringing these books to my attention. I am so out of the loop on children's books and these sound like something I'd really love to gift to my grandchildren. Now I have to go look them up.